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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dan talks about "Food for Feeling"

On the subject of Stimulus, Emotion and Reaction, Dan gives us a run-down of the rational mind vs the emotional mind in terms of the decision making process.

How we decide

There is failure in thinking too much, trying to be too rational, coming up with too many reasons. We are scared by options that seem equivalent, it gives us a feeling of uncertainty.

Rational decisions or gut decisions? It is more a conversation between several parts of the brain.

Rational brain:
Pre-frontal cortex: memory, self control, will power, self gratification. Has a heavy burden. Can handle an average of 7 pieces of information, more than that and it begins to short circuit.

Emotional brain:
Insular brain: processes pain, loss/cost.
Amygdala: fear.
Hippocampus: olfactory sense of taste and smell.
Pattern detection.
Superior information sponge.

Autopilot and choking:
Novice golfers do better when they think about their swing. professional golfers choke when they focus, they lose contact with their training by taking a skill that performs better on autopilot and move it over to their "deliberated brain".

Choosing art:
Van Gough vs photo of kittens. the thinking brain chooses kittens. The non thinking brain chooses Van Gough. When you have to explain your decision (by searching for rational reasons) you override subtle (unexplainable) preferences.

Placebo expectation ie. the placebo effect:
Is powerful.
The pre-frontal cortex is more active, the insular becomes less dominant.
Subjects agreee when told a bottle of wine is expensive when it is in reality very cheap. Pre-frontal expectations are more active. what we perceive is a product of what we think we are going to perceive. We taste what we expect and have less regard for the rest of the information.

Meta cognition:
Thinking about thinking. an epiphany comes from an obscure circuit of cells in the right hemisphere, it comes when we are relaxed. There is tremendous pay offs when being focused on not being focused.

Men more rational, women more intuitive?
Economic exchange game;
Men tend to "shut off" after their trust being violated. Women tend to keep thinking about it afterwards. Pursuing the gross generalisation via social interaction, that it may have some basis in the brain may be because woman are more sensitive to social interactions, simply because they think about it more.

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